A nonprofit organization made up of volunteers, the Sheriff’s Posse works closely with the sheriff’s department to assist with various activities, such as public events, emergencies and patrol support. As a 501(c)(3), the Posse often relies on donations to provide the equipment needed to perform its mission.
Over a year ago, Orson Gold — owner of Gold Communications Services, L3Harris partner for Montana and Posse member — approached the company to see if it might have options to address the Posse’s communications needs.
“We secured 65 XL-200 multi-band LMR radios, added the latest software, then donated them along with associated communications equipment,” said Andrew Ratzlaff, sales specialist, with the Public Safety and Professional Communications sector in L3Harris Communication Systems. “The Flathead County sheriff and the Posse were beyond ecstatic. They said no one has ever made a donation of this magnitude and added that this would make an immense difference for their team and the citizens they serve.”
Opening Greater Possibilities
Along with the radios, the donation included programming equipment, security software, and other equipment to enable the radios to communicate with the county and state’s secure 911 communication platforms. It also led to the donation of additional resources to help the Posse perform its diverse tasks.
“The L3Harris donation to the Posse really transformed the organization and encouraged many other supporting contributions from other businesses and organizations,” said Gold. “Flathead County has many more sworn reserve officers now, which would not have been possible without the generous donation. And with the insane population migration into western Montana, they need them.”
The Posse has made active use of the new radios and equipment, from routine duties to critical events.
"Since having the L3Harris communication equipment, we have used them in the field repeatedly, including everything from working large public events like music festivals to responding to emergency call-outs,” said Travis Sallee, Posse commander. “Earlier this spring, our sheriff declared a state of emergency due to severe flooding in the area. We assisted with evacuations and provided our community with 24-hour coverage in high-risk areas for multiple weeks. These radios and equipment allowed us to communicate between responding agencies as we worked to keep our community safe."
The goodwill from the donation opened the doors for other opportunities. The sheriff’s department required a new dispatch system, including affordable and locally maintained dispatch equipment. They were able to secure grant money to fund the critical need and reached out to L3Harris.
“L3Harris was invited on multiple occasions to meet with the county commissioners to present the Symphony™ Dispatch Console and highlight how our solution would improve the responsiveness of the dispatchers,” said Ratzlaff. “When we demonstrated Symphony to the dispatchers, they quickly embraced the ease of use and loved it.”
The county purchased the Symphony system, marking the first purchase of the Symphony console in the state of Montana. The county also purchased hundreds of radios.
Beyond the county, word of L3Harris’ donation traveled across the state, with even Governor Greg Gianforte learning about it from one of his contacts with the Posse. The donation, combined with building in-person relationships and responding to needs, is shaping a positive and mutually beneficial reality.
“In Montana, your word is your bond,” said Ratzlaff. “We made promises, and we are keeping them. We follow up. We fix their technical issues. We provide an alternative to other service providers by building a relationship in person, keeping our word, and solving their problems, all at a lower cost.”